Two Austin officer-involved shootings cleared by DA’s office

The incident started at a parking lot on Anderson Mill Road and Olson Drive but ended at the courtyard of Hope Presbyterian Church on Jan. 12, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)
The incident started at a parking lot on Anderson Mill Road and Olson Drive but ended at the courtyard of Hope Presbyterian Church on Jan. 12, 2017. (KXAN Photo/Frank Martinez)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Two Austin police officers involved in separate shootings at the beginning of the year will not face any criminal charges. After looking at the circumstances in both cases, Travis County District Attorney Margaret Moore determined Officer Jesse Lane and Officer Samuel Travis’ use of force was “justified.”

Officer Lane was involved in the deadly shooting of Scott Gilpin, 47, on Jan. 14, 2017 in northwest Austin. Police originally responded to reports of two men fighting inside the Anderson Mill Pub at a strip mall on Anderson Mill Road at Olson Drive around 1 a.m. Witnesses say Gilpin was threatening people with a gun, but bystanders were able to get it away from him. When officers arrived Gilpin had left the scene.

Javier Tinoco (Austin Police Department)
Javier Tinoco (Austin Police Department)

Approximately 30 minutes later, police say Gilpin returned with a shotgun and an AR-15 rifle and started firing in the air. Gilpin moved toward Hope Presbyterian Church where he continued to fire shots into the air, refusing to put down his gun, according to police.

Officers tried to de-escalate the situation, but officers “feared that any moment Gilpin would fire on them.” Realizing Gilpin’s path would “soon put the officers in cross-fire situation,” Officer Lane fired his weapon five times, killing Gilpin, according to Moore’s press release.

Officer Travis’ case involves a suspect who is still going through the criminal court process. On Feb. 6, 2017, an officer pulled Javier Tinoco, 25, over for possible drunk driving. As the officer approached Tinoco’s vehicle, police say he put his car in reverse and knocked the officer to the ground.

Officer Travis saw the assault and fired his weapon at the suspect vehicle in an effort to stop the driver, police say. While the vehicle was hit, the driver was not as he pulled out of the cul-de-sac and drove away a second time, leading police on a second chase. During the six-minute pursuit, police used spike strips to stop the suspect. The chase ended in the 5200 block of Roggie Lane, near Manor Road, where the suspect was apprehended.

Both cases will not be presented to a grand jury and Moore has issued declination letters for each case.

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